To my shame I won’t be giving a sermon on Tzedakah this Rosh Hashanah - Yom Kippur season.
I have my reasons, other things to speak on, but I’m not sure I could justify them before those who benefit from the support we provide to so many important causes.
‘Benefit’ is probably the wrong word. I’m not sure what I can say to those who need the support we could offer.
I received a honeycake in the run up to Rosh Hashanah. It came from a boy who will celebrate his bar mitzvah this year (sadly not at NLS). He was introduced to his now adopted parents through Norwood several years ago and as a social action project to celebrate his coming of age he has been baking honey cakes to raise money so a child who is under the care of Norwood can celebrate their bar mitzvah too.
I attended a wedding recently where the kippot made available to guests had been sourced from a fair trade co-operative in Tamil Nadu. This was on top of their request that guests make a donation to the Jewish Council for Racial Equality.
This is the way we should do tzedakah, this is the way we should give tzedakah; as a response to the passing moments of our own life. As the milestones tick past, we should be looking for opportunities to give, opportunities to lead others in giving. Those of you who are members of New London you will have received notice of our Kol Nidrei appeal where we are raising funds to support the work of the Synagogue and the UJIA and of course I feel most passionately about these charities.
But, at this time of year especially, my mail, both electronic and printed, is full of worthy causes, worthier causes than all but a minority of my own spending.
It’s a good time to give.
More than that, it is a lousy time to let slip by without giving, without responding to our obligation to acts of justice and righteousness, tzedek tzedek tirdof - tzedek tzedek tirdof – You shall pursue acts of righteousness.
With blessings to all for a good sealing, a good fast and a good year,